Playing at Pyrography

You’ve probably worked out by now that when it comes to crafting, I like to have a bash at new things.  Before Christmas, I’d been reading about pyrography and watched a few YouTube videos and thought it looked like something I would enjoy doing.  I was lucky enough to receive a pyrography machine from Mr. L for Christmas, together with some sycamore plywood blanks to practice on and a book showing how to do various techniques and patterns.

Off I went to play with my new toy with much enthusiasm. To start with, I tried some shading patterns and then writing letters.  I then had the idea to stamp some of my card stamps onto the wood and burn over them, since I can’t draw for toffee! This was a very effective plan and so then, having built up my confidence, I decided to try my hand at drawing trees freestyle and put a setting sun behind.  Oh yes, running before I can walk is one of my mottos!

Anyhow, I decided a project was required rather than just messing about so, since my dear friend’s birthday was coming up and I’d bought her a bottle of gin and an engraved gin glass, I thought a presentation crate would be just the job.  I bought a crate from Hobbycraft, surfed the internet for gin puns and downloaded some jazzy fonts for writing said puns.

The words and phrases were scaled so that the size was suitable for the crate and also a reasonable size for burning, printed out and then traced onto the crate using graphite paper.

According to the book and the members of the Facebook pyrography group I’ve joined (great for advice and inspiration), some woods are easier to burn than others.  All recommend staying well away from pine as it’s very difficult to work with.  You’ve guessed what my crate was made from! Well, even with my very limited experience of pyrography and only having my sycamore plywood to compare it too, it was indeed tricky to work with; lots of smoke, a few flames and the nib sinking deeply into the wood at times.

But I got there in the end and was pleased with the overall look – although I’m sure it wouldn’t win any pyrography awards!

Once all the sides were complete, I put some packing ‘wotsits’ in the bottom and then topped that with some shredded paper to hold the goodies: an engraved gin glass, a bottle of King of Soho gin, a measure, 2 cans of tonic water and a couple of tea towels hand stamped with drink related images.

Once everything was in place, I wrapped the crate in cellophane and finished with a printed band and a bow.

This was the card to go with the gift, another one using the eclipse technique and  the Stampin’ Up! Half Full stamp set.

Carole loved both card and present which made me very happy indeed.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

Team Training with Inspiring Inkin’

To be a demonstrator with Stampin’ Up!, you have to join another demonstrator’s team.  You can join any team you fancy within your worldwide geographical area but I joined a local demonstrator, Amanda Fowler of Inspiring Inkin’ (http://www.inspiringinkin.com) as I’d enjoyed many of Amanda’s videos on YouTube and I like to support local businesses where I can.

We have online training once a month via Facebook Live but there are a few in person training days where you get to meet other members of the team, get new ideas and try out new products, chat, eat cake and craft together, which makes a nice change as crafting tends to be a solitary occupation.

A common, but optional, activity at this kind of event is Team Swaps.  This involves making a card front to swap with other demonstrators, thereby getting new ideas for a stamp set you own or seeing a new set that may have escaped your notice!  I decided to repeat my old favourite of the ombre sunset and Dandelion Wishes card front and, whilst watching the Masters snooker, spent a very pleasant couple of hours ink blending 25 card fronts.  I then stamped the image together with the sentiment, then heat embossed them with clear powder.  The Stamparatus is invaluable for this kind of mass production.  A sticker with the ‘recipe’ is put on the back should anyone want to CASE (Copy And Share Everything) your design.  Here are my swaps.  Can you spot the slight oops moment? I inked the panel upside down – I have no idea how I managed it!!

These are the swaps I received from my fellow demonstrators – such a talented bunch!

Amanda also had a Demonstrator’s Choice competition whereby you make any project using anything, but if SU! sell it (like ribbon, card etc.) you have to use it but anything they don’t sell can also be used.  I decided to make a Lighted Bethlehem 3D frame as I’d made a few of these for Christmas presents and they had all been well received.  I was chuffed to bits to be voted the winner especially as there was very strong competition.  Here’s my frame with lights off…

….and lights on.

For this, I won a stamp set and was also lucky enough to win another one in the raffle too.

Whilst the day is called a training day, that is a rather formal term and it’s actually a lot of fun.  Amanda provides a number of projects for the team to complete although I didn’t get to finish all of them.  Here’s what I did complete.

We also had a couple of demonstrations of techniques and new product lines and a very interesting presentation on bullet journaling, or Bujo as it’s apparently known!  This really piqued my interest and I’m going to investigate this further, particularly as I may be able to combine it with my challenge to myself for this year, to learn hand/brush lettering – so that I’m not totally dependent on stamp sets for my sentiments!!

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

Eclipse Card and Minion Trousers

This week, we have been celebrating Mr. L’s birthday.  It wasn’t a big one but still a birthday so warrants some celebrating!  Amongst his presents were two pairs of homemade house trousers.  I don’t know what other people call them but they’re the comfy trousers you put on to doss around in and they’re known as House Trousers in our house. He had asked for some for Christmas but I ran out of time so he got them for his birthday instead.  Now I had never made trousers before so I was a bit concerned but, since the pattern was a simple pyjama style, they ended up being quite straight forward to construct.  His request for trousers was “the more outrageous the better!” and he loves the Minions so that’s what he got!  Here he is sporting the two designs….

For his card I used my newly acquired Winter Woods stamp.  The bare winter trees are great for Christmas cards but can also be handy for those tricky male cards.  This card is a variation of my ombre sunset card (blog post from Sept 2018) but the inked panel is horizontal instead of vertical.  I’m also currently in love with eclipse cards and Mr. L has been coveting the ones I’ve made for others so I made one for him too.

I began by tearing some Post-It notes along the sticky edge and positioning them to make the area to be inked.  I made it just narrower than the height of the trees as I wanted them to go into the white areas at the top and bottom of the panel.  Using sponge daubers, I blended Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Cajun Craze and Cherry Cobbler to give the sunset look.

I stamped the bare trees image using Memento Tuxedo Black repeatedly across the panel and then flicked a bit of (retired) shimmer paint in copper and gold over the panel to give a bit of added interest.

Using the large letter dies, I lined the word ‘HUBBY’ up on my grid paper (I had to sub in a P to keep the space for my other B!) and taped the dies together with Post-It tape.  After much trial and error, I’ve found this is the easiest way to keep them lined up!

I ran it through the Big Shot and then positioned the second B and cut that out too.  I then stuck down the panel onto a Basic Black backing and adhered the negative spaces from the Bs.

The SU! Foam Adhesive Strips are brilliant for eclipse cards as the strips are narrow so fit easily on the back of the die cut letters.  After applying the adhesive strips, I stuck the letters into their appropriate positions and mounted the card on a card base of Pumpkin Pie, since orange is Mr. L’s favourite colour!  For the sentiment, I heat embossed some gold powder onto a strip of Basic Black and mounted using dimensionals.  I used some Whisper White card for inside liner and just stamped the tops of the trees along the bottom edge in Smoky Slate ink.  Here’s the finished card.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

The Great British Music Room!

You may have seen our jazzy music room wall behind our parents in the Christmas Carol Evening blog post. When it came to decorating our music room, so called because it houses all our musical instruments including Mr. L’s kazoo (!), we decided on a red, white and blue theme. Now nothing is more red, white and blue themed than the Union Jack or Union Flag (I’m never sure what we’re supposed to call it) so that seemed a good starting point. I thought the whole flag would be too much so decided on just a quarter of what would have been a HUGE flag.  It’s quite tricky to draw the Union Jack and have it look right so Google came to my aid and I found out what the ratios should be.

The cross of St. George is red and is one fifth the flag’s height.  The white border is one fifteenth of the height.

The saltires of St. Andrew and St. Patrick are intertwined, with the St. Andrew cross being one fifth the flag’s height.  This is then divided into 6 and then two of the six bits are allocated to the St. Patrick cross.  Confused yet???  Luckily there was this handy diagram to help me out!

Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Jack

The wall was already painted white so I drew the dimensions on the wall in pencil and then masked off the red and blue areas.

We had a corner sofa in the room which didn’t work with the other furniture in the room.  Basically, it had one too many seats! I decided that we could chop it down and make it a straight sofa instead – like you do.  Well it was almost a situation where I’d bitten off more that I could chew so I roped in Mr. L to help me out.  I have to stress that this is not for the faint hearted and could have gone very badly and expensively wrong.  Lots of head scratching ensued but, in the end, we rebuilt the sofa into the size we wanted.

I completed the look by changing the ‘feature’ cushions from a turquoise floral fabric to a nautical stripe fabric, which I had treated with fire retardant spray.

And so The Great British Music Room was born!